Docker’s Guild is a massive prog metal space opera superproject which will unfold through 5 “seasons” and 9 albums and is masterminded by producer, songwriter, keyboardist and singer Douglas R. Docker. The first album, called “The Mystic Technocracy – Season I: The Age of Ignorance” (2012), saw the participation of acclaimed worldwide musicians such as Gregg Bissonette, Tony Franklin, Guthrie Govan, Jeff Watson, John Payne, Göran Edman, Amanda Somerville, Tony Mills and many others. It collected an impressive amount of awards and reviews, gaining widespread international accolades.
Docker’s Guild’s new album is titled “The Heisenberg Diaries – Book A: Sounds of Future Past”. It is part of a series of 4 transitional albums placed between the 5 main “seasons” and which focus on an aspect of the storyline’s main character, Dr. Jack Heisenberg. This particular installment focuses on Jack’s youth and love of science fiction, in fact the album contains exclusively vintage science fiction soundtracks reworked in the typical Docker’s Guild sound. “Book A” will be followed by “The Mystic Technocracy – Season II: The Age of Entropy”, already in development. Another unique feature of “Book A” is its all-female cast, which makes it, as far as we know, the first all-female metal opera ever recorded.
Douglas R. Docker has worked with many acclaimed artists such as Tony Franklin, Gregg Bissonette, Guthrie Govan, John Payne, Göran Edman, Tim Bogert, Tony Mills, Therion, The Vivaldi Metal Project, Frantic Amber, Shining Line and Craig Goldie, besides being the keyboardist for internationally acclaimed melodic rock band Biloxi. Biloxi’s debut “Let the Games Begin” obtained worldwide success, reaching n. 10 in the Japanese charts (Burrn! Magazine) and n. 1 in England as the best import CD of 1993 (Kerrang! Magazine), as well as collecting an impressive amount of rave reviews worldwide. In the last couple years, Docker has become a rather demanded special guest and session player, having been featured on albums from bands and projects such as The Vivaldi Metal Project (where he is also co-developer of the concept and writer of all the lyrics), Tony Mills, Frantic Amber, Shining Line, Rustfield and many more.
The overall story arc of Docker’s Guild’s space opera is rather complex and has been worked out in great detailed. Album after album, you will visit the dark world of The Mystic Technocracy, where a silicon-based techno-organic alien race attempts to wipe out all life on Earth through organized religion, while a tormented scientist makes it his mission in life to save humanity. His quest will take him across the universe and on a personal journey from which there is no return.
You will meet many characters such as Dr. Jack Heisenberg, Tith, ZZ-999, Cardinal Berengar Yersinia, Lucy Friedmann, Adam V and many more. You will visit the alien worlds of Silix IV and Carbonia in the Andromeda Galaxy, and travel back in time to the age of dinosaurs to witness their extinction.
Top-notch progressive metal space opera in the vein of Star One, Ayreon and Avantasia.
Complex and detailed storyline which unfolds through 5 seasons and 9 albums.
World-class performances by an all-female cast comprising Elize Ryd, Amanda Somerville, Nita Strauss, Roxy Petrucci, Anna Portalupi, Mio Jäger, Yasi Hofer, Valentina Procopio and Elisa Montin.
Docker’s Guild has easily become a reference point in the progressive scene after the release of its 2012 debut album. Its sophomore effort builds on the strengths of the first one and stands out for its orchestral and vocal arrangements, superb keyboards work, stellar vocal performances and the deep and well-structured concept.
Produced by Douglas R. Docker (Docker’s Guild, Biloxi, Area 51)
Co-produced and mixed by Alessandro Del Vecchio (in-house producer and main songwriter at Frontiers Records, producer of Hardline, Revolution Saints, Rated X, etc.) and Douglas R. Docker
Mastered by Alessandro Del Vecchio
Superb visionary artwork by Carl-Andrè Beckston (TNT, House of Lords, Edguy, etc.)
Douglas R. Docker (Biloxi, Area 51)
KEYBOARDS, LEAD AND BACKING VOCALS
Elize Ryd (Amaranthe)
Amanda Somerville (Avantasia, Epica)
LEAD AND BACKING VOCALS
LEAD AND BACKING VOCALS
Nita Strauss (Alice Cooper)
Mio Jäger (Frantic Amber)
Yasi Hofer (winner of the 2014 female guitarist competition)
Anna Portalupi (Tarja Turunen, Hardline)
Roxy Petrucci (Vixen, Madame X)
Elisa Montin (Corrupted Minds, Cellulite Star)
DEBUT ALBUM REVIEW HIGHLIGHTS (2012)
“It’s massive ear candy. Much of TMT’s grandeur is due to Docker’s phenomenal skills. With The Mystic Technocracy, Douglas Docker and his Docker’s Guild set upon a grand adventure, one of epic proportions in progressive rock. Very recommended. [4.5/5]”.
Craig Hartranft – Danger Dog
. Roger – Extended Mix“This is a project of great artistic value. The word extraordinary would really be appropriate. A delicious dose of originality, which highlights the strong personality of an incredible group, which says something very new. It is a very intense, inspiring, but also very technical and passionate album. The arrangements are very complex and articulated, you can feel the greatness of this immense project. Production nothing short of excellent. To have without delay! [9/10]”.
Maurizio Mazzarella – Giornale Metal“Don’t be thinking you can get away with some mindless musical escapade that you can wile away an hour or so while preparing dinner. ‘The Mystic Technocracy’ will require your utmost attention. For me, one of the albums of the year. [10/10]”.
George Thatcher – Glory Daze“It is simply an excellent blend heavy, AOR and prog, a rare quality in this area. The Mystic Technocracy is a wonderful tribute to the sound that I love so much, these convoluted environments, but also catchy and straightforward melodies. What quality, what sense of melody, and what songs! This is the kind of gems that send Docker’s Guild high in the firmament of prog [8/10]”.
Heavy Law“We are faced with a masterpiece, one of those works that are intended to mark a new musical universe. A stellar cast for a stellar disc. The variety of the concept is so vast that even the most demanding music buff will find bread for his teeth. The album chock full of details that will make you excited, cry and even sing out loud: kudos to Douglas for having created such a long and complicated album and yet absolutely magnetic, able to strike and be appreciated from the first to the last second. [9/10]”.
Fabio Rancati – Italia di Metallo“This is ten superb tracks of pure blissful euphoria for the ear. If music could be captured in colours, then this Rock Opera would be a kaleidoscope if infinite wonderment. Docker’s Guild can easily become a reference point in the progressive scene. The album stands for its songwriting, vocal arrangements, superb keyboards work and the deep and well-structured concept”.
Mayfair Mall Zine
“Dynamic and inventive, yet skillfully tuneful, this first installment of The Mystic Technocracy is enigmatic in both its technical and melodic delivery, again offering up the goods for those who want to hear great tunage and for those who want to dive head first into thought oriented music. [90/100]”.
Tommy Hash – Melodic Rock Fanzine / Ytse Jam
Salvatore Sanzio – Metal.it“The songs keep coming with natural grace and offer a real good time to the listener. Despite a record crammed with music, over 79 minutes, you very rarely get bored as the melodies are so varied and catchy. This album is well thought out and performed. This first chapter is full of promises and now I look forward to the rest of the Mystic Technocracy. [8/10]”.
Oshyrya – Metal Chroniques“If you like space rock opera, this is the real deal for this year. These are memorable, down to earth progressive songs. It is all a matter of top class compositions that are able to give this album its most strength. This is a top class AOR and progressive music of the year. [9.5/10]”.
Metal Harem“The progressive element is definitely quite dominant, but, there are plenty of heavy chucking and hard rocking guitar riffs to satisfy many a fan of hard rock. Fans of progressively oriented rock, hard rock and metal bands should find this album, with its lush keyboard arrangements, spacey sounds, rocking guitars and epic feel, and of course the complex lyrical theme, appealing. [4/5]”.
Metal Music Archives“Docker’s Guild offers, on this very first very successful installment, a balanced mix of epic compositions, technical demonstrations and catchy melodies. The choice proves to be perfect. The album is interesting from beginning to end and replays with great pleasure, which, admittedly, is not always the case with concept albums. [4.5/5]”.
Michel Serry – Music in Belgium“If the epic and symphonic aspects are strongly developed, in particular through a very thorough use of keyboards, nothing is overplayed like in some Rock Operas. There is thus a very 80’s cocktail of genres, mixing AOR, Heavy Metal and Neo-Prog, with quite an impressive and charged result! “The Mystic Technocracy” happens to be a great success that will satisfy especially the followers of the 80s. We impatiently await the continuation of the saga. [8/10]”.
Steven Akerfeldt – Music Waves“All the vocalists add their distinctive tonsils, meaning that this album flows excellently and never gets boring, it also adds to the cinematic nature of the album. The music is very keyboard heavy so it has an AOR sound to many of the tracks but with Guthrie guitars adding some crunch a few drift into more metallic territory. The album is fantastic and anyone who loves Mr Lucassen’s work will get huge pleasure out of this album. [9/10]”.
Musipedia of Metal“From the very beginning of this opera, our ears will be bombarded with a constant solid stream of spacey keyboard-oriented melodies, and it will not stop before the last sentence of the story has been placed. It’s very rich with tasty morsels of ear candy. It took a while to digest all the impressions, but it has grown on me and by the end rewarded me with a top-notch prog rock experience. If you have grown tired of endless and countless listenings of Lucassen’s many projects, then this album is a good candidate to check out, and spend some of your precious time on. [85/100]”.
The Power of Metal“Every single instrument is designed and played with parsimony and immense class, from the preponderance of the keyboards, the bass technique to the excellent guitar technique of Guthrie Govan. We are in the presence of a masterpiece. [This album is] played and composed in an admirable way. [9/10]”.
Diego Piazza – Rock and Metal in my Blood“Mr. Docker is a hyper-musician, a master amongst teachers, a very special sample of highly educated music man. Do you happen to like the Ayreon projects? Do you fancy ELP, YES and the rest of the huge Prog Masters, through an AOR prism? Put your headphones on, hit the lights and relax, you’re in for a treat! Safe travels!”.
Costas Koulis – Rock Pages“Once in a while Lion Music surprises me with an excellent album and this solo effort from Douglas R. Docker under the moniker of Docker’s Guild certainly is such a highlight. “The Mystic Technocracy – Season 1: The Age of Ignorance” sounds quite impressive from start to finish. Hats off to Mr Docker and Lasse at Lion Music for surprising us with such fine stuff. One for my top-10 at the end of the year. [5.5/6]”.
Rock Report“The full title sets it out as a hi-brow concept album, yet what sets this apart from a lot of concept albums is the music and melodies that infuse each of the songs. The story and a lot of the musicianship are down to one man’s vision: Douglas Docker (songwriter, keyboard player and vocalist) whose all-encompassing dedication and passion to this project have brought to life one of the best albums I’ve heard this year. This release sits easily within the all the genres we love and it’s a CD that anyone who reads this website will absolutely adore!”. Ian Johnson – Rocktopia “This is a tale of epic proportions. The amazing thing here, Douglas was able to bring in a foray of artists with an incredible who is who list of names. The best part is the production as Douglas is a keyboard genius and knows how to tickle sounds from his synthesizers, which make your skin crawl. Add to that a brilliant production and the masterful emotion that trails you through this 79-minute journey and you will be enchanted. Trust me, there is so much more on this Lion Music master piece! [9/10]”.
Peter Fundeis – Screaming Symphonies“Douglas creates a lush landscape with many keyboard textures, giving a futuristic sound that often reminded me of an 80’s Sci Fi flick. Open the cd booklet and the lush images presented back the music quite well, creating a lush, futuristic world. The music is energetic, dramatic, large-scaled, well-orchestrated, and professional sounding. A solid album that will appeal to fans of projects like Avantasia and Ayreon. [4/5]”.
Geff Glenister – Sea of Tranquillity“It’s difficult to remain indifferent to such an amount of melody, instrumental expertise, and ideas, incredibly blended and released with a unique intensity. The ease with which all the components are exposed leaves us breathless because of the sensitivity, gentleness and humility with which we are told this “discovery”. Sincere congratulations to Douglas for the class and the ability to combine Aor, Prog, Space Rock and electronics, with a cast of excellence and never indulging in self-love. [9.5/10]”.
Stefano Thiess – Stereo Invaders“The result of a painstaking job which lasted for years, The Mystic Theocracy is the first real alternative to what is represented by Arjen Lucassen: it extrapolates the hallmarks, reworking them, mixing them in an explosive recipe, ready to write new pages of great music, making justice to the great writing skills of its creator. If Docker’s Guild will find a way to be fulfilled in its entirety through its five chapters, we could be looking at a work of rare musical and artistic beauty and depth. [6/6]”.
Ferruccio Battini – Unprogged“We have a bit of a treat for all lovers of prog rock: captivating compositions that have depth and soul. Highlights are pretty much all over. It’s compelling stuff with great performances from all involved. Sonically the album is big and well mixed. The artwork inlay also promises to be a lush affair. Fans of any of the classic big prog names, or indeed newer variants ala Ayreon are urged to check this album out. A work of art is here with the emphasis firmly on songs and it promises to be a superb journey on future releases. [94/100]”.
DEBUT ALBUM REVIEW SCORES (2012)
Prog Archives 1 5/5
Metal Integral 19/20
Metal Chroniques 9.5/10
Stereo Invaders 9.5/10
Virtuosity One 94/100
Rock Report 5.5/6
Melodic Rock Fanzine 90/100
Extended Mix 9/10
Giornale Metal 9/10
Hails & Horns 9/10
Italia di Metallo 9/10
Musipedia of Metal 9/10
Metal Harem 9/10
Screaming Symphony 9/10
Rock and Metal in my Blood 9/10
Greek Rebels 9/10
Music in Belgium 4.5/5
Femme Metal 88/100
Power of Metal 85/100
Zware Metalen 84/100
Heavy Law 8/10
iO pages 8/10
Music / Prog Waves 8/10
Nya Skivor 4/5
Festival Info 4/5
Get Ready to Rock 4/5
Sea of Tranquillity 4/5
Metal Music Archives 4/5
Prog Archives 2 4/5
Lords of Metal 78/100
Les Eternels 15.5/20
Progressive Area 3/4
Black Wind Metal 3.75/5
True Metal 73/100
Sweden Rock Magazine 7/10
Background Magazine 3.5/5
My Revelations 10/15
Rock Area 6.5/10
Rock Hard 6.5/10
De Bagat Uruchea 3/5
DEBUT ALBUM AWARDS (2012)
Keyboardist of the Year (Jukka Paananen)
Palmares 2012 Best Album of the Year with 20/20
- Best Album of 2012 (George Thatcher)
Best Album of 2012 (Stefano Thiess)
Chesy Rock Reviews
Album of the Year (Alessandro Del Vecchio)
- Best Hard Rock Album of 2012
Italia di Metallo
- Best Album of 2012 (Fabio Rancati)
Top 3 Best Albums of 2012
- Top 10 Prog Metal Albums of the Year
- Top 10 Albums of 2012 (Silvergm)
- Top 20 Best Albums of 2012 (Γιάννης Φράγκος)
- Top 10 Prog Rock Albums of 2012 (Jukka Paananen)
- Top 10 Best Debut Albums of 2012
- Best Album of 2012 (Eric Abrahamnsen)
- Top 10 2012
Much Metal Blog
- Top20 Albums of 2012
The Rock’n’Roll Oat Cake
- Best of 2012
El Diario de Orfeo
Special Mention Best Albums of 2012
Best Albums of 2012 (Gary Carson’s Hit List)
Best Items of 2012
Top 15 Albums of 2012
Musipedia of Metal
Best 20 Albums of the Year
- Best Albums of the Year 2012
- Top75 Albums of 2012
- Top 100 Best Albums of 2012
Mayfair Mall Zine
June 2012 Editor’s Pick
- Top10 August 2012 Albums
Symphony of Silence
Album of the Month September 2012
Music in Belgium
- DynaTop30 (October 2012)
Music in Belgium
- Most Popular Review (October 2012)
- Top10 (October 2012)
Medal of Valor (October 2012)
- Top 50 Most Popular Artists (Nov 2012)
Longest Album Title of 2012